Match Etiquette

Ball Management

Balls should be kept either in your hand, in a pocket or ball clip, or against a fence

Remove any spare balls from the court when playing – for safety reasons and to avoid confusion

If the server needs a ball, the player closest to a ball should get it and return it to the server

Retrieve balls for your partner and your opponent when they are on your side of the court

Roll the ball back directly, or lob the ball over the net, to the server

When sending balls back to a neighbouring court, roll them to the back of the court (and never send them back while play is in progress)

When retrieving a ball from a neighbouring court, where play is still in progress, wait on your court until the point is finished before retrieving it – or ask for the ball to be returned

If your opponent has to walk a significant distance to get a ball, check your side to see whether you can use that time to collect a ball that’s similarly far away

Keeping Score

At the beginning of the match spin your racket, or toss a coin, to determine who serves first. If you win the toss, the choice is yours. You may choose to serve first, to receive first or to pick which end of the court you wish to start (you may also make your opponent choose first)

Make sure your opposition is ready before you begin to serve

If there is no score board, the server must announce the game score at the start of each game

The server must announce the score at the start of each point

The server must make sure their point announcement is loud enough to be heard by the opposition

If the receiver cannot hear the server’s announcement of the score, they must ask the server to speak louder. Don’t wait until the server believes they have won the game to try to reconstruct the scoring point by point

Line Calls

If you’re not sure whether your opponent’s shot is in or out… it’s in!

Try not to return a first serve that is clearly out as your opponent won’t be sure why you’re not calling it out. With a fast serve it’s often hard for the receiver to determine whether a serve is in or out and you must give the server the benefit of the doubt. However, if you can see that you have confused your opponent by playing an ‘out ball’, offer to replay the point

In doubles you should avoid calling balls wide when they land near the far sideline – unless the

call is obvious and your partner was somehow hindered from seeing the ball land.

If you are the receiver, and your partner is on or near the service line at the start of a point, your partner has the best view of whether a serve is in or long. You can make a call if they don’t but always defer to their judgment.

Make sure you call “out” when the ball is clearly out. You can also use hand signal of a raised finger if the ball is out but still make sure you verbalise the call (NB a flat hand with the palm down determines an “in” ball)

If the ball lands on the line this is “in” and so you say nothing and continue to play on

Court Conduct

Talk quietly when standing near tennis courts that are in use

Never walk behind a court when a point is still in play. Wait until the point is over and then cross as quickly as possible

Never criticise your partner. You are working as a team and it may well have been your previous shot that lead to your partner’s mistake

Offer encouragement. Talk to your partner about what’s not working and discuss what other options you can try

Always play within the rules

Work at achieving your personal best play

Enjoy yourself on the court. You may not win every time – make sure your behaviour allows your

fellow players to enjoy their game, too. Keep your language polite and controlled

Always shake your partner’s and opponent’s hand(s) at the end of the match

Be a gracious winner or a dignified loser